Records of Merchants Engaged in Foreign Trade, 1772-1920: A Finding Aid
Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Harvard Business School, Boston MA 02163.
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: Mss:766 1772-1920
Repository: Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Title: Records of merchants engaged in foreign trade
Quantity: 6 linear feet (31 volumes, 13 boxes, 1 envelope)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Multiple collections related to merchants engaged in foreign trade, 1772-1920.
Gift and purchase from various sources, 1932-1963.
Please contact the Historical Collections Reference Staff for proper citation instructions
for materials in this finding aid.
This artificial collection of records pertaining to estate, real estate, and private
investment management was created as part of a grant project to load as many collections
into HOLLIS. In an effort to make these individual collections more discoverable this
guide was created with descriptions taken from Manuscripts in Baker Library (4th ed.,
1978) and local finding aids housed in the Historical Collections reading room. Each
one of the entries listed below is a unique collection.
- Series: Records of Merchants Engaged in Foreign Trade, 1772-1920
- Jacob and William Wildes records, 1772-1815 4 boxes
Scope and Contents: Records kept by Jacob and William Wildes of Arundel, Maine includes agreements, letters
and account sales of cargoes. The brothers acted as captains and supercargoes for
various shipping merchants. Jacob Wildes, evidently the older of the two, was often
part owner in the adventure. The shipping was coastwise as well as to the West Indies
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of Charles H. Taylor.
- Thomas and William Davis records, 1782-1805 7 boxes
Scope and Contents: Records of Thomas and William Davis of Plymouth, Massachusetts contains letters received,
including many from abroad relating to prices and markets.
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of William Davis, 1932 and 1934.
- Richard S. Smith invoices, 1792-1811 1 Volumes
Scope and Contents: One volume of invoices kept by Richard S. Smith of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Purchase, 1937.
- Hanseatic Merchant ledger, 1795 1 Volumes
Scope and Contents: One ledger kept by a Hanseatic merchant of Bergen, Norway in 1795.
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of Boston University Library, 1963.
- Elias Smith letter book, 1799-1800 1 Volumes
Scope and Contents: Letters written by Elias Smith, a Royliast living in Montreal, Canada chiefly concern
shipping are addressed to his son, David Smith of New York City. There are other letters,
to merchants in Liverpool and London from whom he bought crockery, Irish linen, Russian
sheeting, German scythes, and looking glasses, sending in payment cargoes of potash,
pearl ash, timber and staves by vessels he chartered. Elias Smith acquired lands from
the Crown at Hope Mills (now Port Hope), and built a grist mill there for the manufacture
Microfilm:: A letter book of Elias Smith of Montreal, Canada, 1799-1800, is available on microfilm
(1 reel, 35 mm.) for use in the Historical Collections Reading Room, Baker Library.
Order no. 79-4751.
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of E.A.S. Clarke.
- George A. Cushing letter book, 1799-1802 1 Volumes
Scope and Contents: Letter book kept by George A. Cushing of Havana, Cuba and Boston, 1799-1802.
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of F.H. Kennard, 1935.
- A.P. Gibson & Company letter book, 1816-1818 1 Volumes
Scope and Contents: Letters from A.P. Gibson & Company of New York City to captains of vessels and to
various foreign and domestic companies concerning the exportation and importation
of a wide variety of goods.
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of Charles H. Taylor.
- Captain Arthur Hall account book, 1821-1829 1 Volumes
Scope and Contents: Accounts of adventures of Captain Arthur Hall of Bath, Maine includes trading with
Santo Domingo, St. Eustatius, St. Bartholomew, and other West India ports. Lumber,
shooks, codfish, herring and beef were chief exports; sugar, molasses and rum comprised
the return cargoes. Currency used included Spanish dollars and doubloons, pounds sterling
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of Charles R. Hall.
- Houqua letter book, 1841-1843 1 Volumes
Scope and Contents: Photostaic copy of the famous Chinese merchant's letter book from 1841-1843. Letters
are for the most part written to Americans, including J.P. Cushing, Robert Bennett
Forbes, Joseph Coolidge, Jr. and John C. Green. The correspondence highlights events
of the period, methods of shipments, questions of sale, profits and problems of foreign
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Purchase, 1942.
- W.W. Woodbury letters, 1847-1853 6 boxes
Scope and Contents: Letters written by W.W. Woodbury of Portland, Maine primarily concern trade with the
West Indies, though papers relative to coastwise trade also appear.
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of Woodbury Brothers, 1928.
- John McCracken accounts, 1852-1881 2 Volumes
Scope and Contents: Two volumes of accounts, 1852-1881 kept by New York City, New York importer John McCracken.
Accounts document ships, family property and stocks and bonds. McCracken shipped carriages
and flour and mills to San Francisco in 1852-1853. The second volume contains letters
written by McCracken to his family from on board the Palestine, en route to England
and back, 1857-1858 and from New York City, 1864-1865.
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of Rogers W. Higgins, 1960.
- Gideon Nye, Jr. records, 1858-1898 5 Volumes
Biographical / Historical: Gideon Nye was born in Acushnet, Mass in 1808. He sailed to China in 1831 to serve
as agent for the New Bedford whaling firm Messrs. Hathaway. In 1843 he formed the
house of Nye, Parkin & Co. and prospered for some time until the firm dissolved in
Scope and Contents: The collection includes day books, correspondence, statistics on tea, silk, and other
goods exported from China to the United States, 1858-1866. Two day books kept 1858-195
and 1865-1898 from Macoa and Canton, respectively, detail expense and credits and
dealings with American China trading firms Olyphant & Co. and Russell & Co. Nye was
Vice-Consul at Canton for much of the time he lived there and remained in Canton until
his death in 1888.
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of James M. Henry, 1932 and Sylvia H. Knowles, 1937.
- William Judson Blydenburgh, 1864-1876 3 Volumes
Biographical / Historical: William Judson Blydenburgh was a Shanghai, China based agent for American trading
firms during the mid 19th century. Blydenburgh chiefly worked for New York merchant
firm A.A. Low & Brother but also was an agent for the smaller Smith, Archer & Co.
Scope and Contents: His papers include three letter books, 1864-1876 containing correspondence from Blydenburgh
to his employers Abiel Abbot Low, Josiah Orne Low, and business partners in China
regarding business dealings and goods and supplies. Also included in the correspondence
are letters from Blydenburgh to his brother noting his work, life in China, and news
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of Mrs. Ruth Kidder, 1952
- Charles W. Dabney & Sons records , 1864-1898 8 Volumes
Scope and Contents: Records of Charles W. Dabney & Sons, 1864-1884 includes ledgers and journals from
Fayal, the Azores. The Dabney's served as Consuls in the Azores. Some accounts are
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of Mrs. Weston Howland, 1958.
- Hudson Bay Company records, 1865-1920 4 Volumes
Scope and Contents: Four volumes of records kept by the Hudson Bay Company at Martens Falls Post, Canada
include outgoing letters, journals and a daily record of receipt of furs.
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of Philip P. Chase, 1946.
- Imports of Cotton goods report, 1909-1910 1 report
Scope and Contents: Report of cotton goods imports kept at the port of New York, 1909-1910.
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of the Estate of Nelson W. Aldrich.
- United States Consul in Manila dispatches to Washington, D.C., 1864 1 microfilm reels
Microfilm:: Dispatches from U.S. Consul in Manila are available on microfilm (1 reel, 35 mm.)
for use in the Historical Collections Reading Room, Baker Library. Order no. 84-4282.
Existence and Location of Originals: Originals at National Archives and Records Service.
- E. Perkins and Son records, 1854-1872 3 Volumes
Scope and Contents: Three volumes of records kept 1854-1872 b Kennebunkport, Maine shipping merchant E.
Perkins & Son. Day book, journal and hauling records contain transactions in grain,
cotton, coffee, tea, tobacco, coal, coke, and guano, among other commodities. Also
included are entries for ships they partial owned, cargoes purchased in foreign countries
and sold in other ports. Trade was conducted in Ireland, England, New Orleans and
Rio de Janeiro.
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of Celia P. Nott.
- John Fox of Portland Me. and the Brig Fountain, 1823-1825 1 Volumes
Export marketing--New York (State).
Cotton trade--New York (State).
Diplomatic and consular service, American.
A.A. Low and Company.
A.P. Gibson and Company.
Hudson's Bay Company.
Smith, Archer and Company.